Spanish Grand Prix – Race


As expected it’s hot in Spain, hotter than it would usually be for this race because they’re in Catalunya later in summer than they would be in a normal season … and we saw how the heat affected tyres in the British Grand Prix and again last week in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

SAI said “So far this year I’ve done well in the races but I think today will be a tough one on the body”
NOR “Like Carlos says, it’s going to be tough. Probably the hottest race we’ve ever done, tricky for the tyres, and the mechanics also”
VET “It’s generally very tight in the midfield in terms of pace, so it’s very hard to make a big difference”
RIC “I think there are about eight cars separated by two tenths”

Pit lane is open so cars can start heading to the dummy grid…
Grid: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, STR, ALB, SAI, NOR, LEC, GAS, VET, KVY, RIC, RAI, OCO, MAG, GRO, RUS, LAT, GIO

Air temperature 31°C; track 49°C; wind 4.7kph; humidity 52%
BBC report “FIA official rain risk 20% for this event”

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
Top 10 start on the soft tyres they used in Q2; rest of the grid on mediums except KVY, MAG and RUS on softs

01/66: VER attacking, takes P2 from BOT
STR attacking BOT now – pushes the Finn down to P4
GIO takes P19 from LAT

02: HAM, VER, STR, BOT, PER, ALB, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, VET, RIC, KVY, MAG, RAI, OCO, GRO, RUS, GIO, LAT
KVY steals P12 from RIC

03: DRS enabled
HAM fastest lap 1:24.630
BOT closing up on STR
Radio for BOT telling him it’s important to pass STR, “We can still have a race”

04: BOT now has DRS to catch STR, now he just needs to find a gap

05/66: VER f/lap 1:24.596
HAM, VER, STR, BOT, PER, ALB, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR
BOT inside STR to take P3 into Turn 1
KVY all over VET’s rear wing

06: Replay shows STR got a great start and made a gap inside BOT into Turn 1
BOT f/lap 1:23.796
Radio for VER telling him he’s closing on HAM; VER complains HAM is “driving super slow”!

08: Radio from PER asking about the tyres; told they’re at their hottest

10/66: HAM, VER, BOT, STR, PER, ALB, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, VET, KVY, RIC, MAG, RAI, OCO, RUS, GRO, GIO, LAT

11: ALB closing on PER
Radio for BOT, “Target plus one” – presumably that means they could go 1 lap longer before the first pit stop

12: HAM told to pick up his pace – pit stop window (for 2-stop) is predicted to be laps 15-19

13: HAM f/lap 1:23.067 – his lead over VER is ~3sec

14: HAM f/lap 1:22.767
KVY looking for a gap in order to take P11 from VET; the Ferrari closes the door
Radio from VER, “Tyres don’t feel amazing”

15/66: HAM, VER, BOT, STR, PER, ALB, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, VET, KVY, RIC, MAG, RAI, OCO, RUS, GRO, GIO, LAT
Order has been fairly static for the past few laps but pit stops are coming

16: Radio for HAM telling him to “keep building the gap” over VER

17: MAG has RAI and OCO closing on him

18: Radio from VER, “Struggling with rear”
ALB pits from P6; hard tyres go on; rejoins P16

19: RAI defends as OCO attacks

20/66: HAM, VER, BOT, STR, PER, SAI, GAS, LEC, NOR, VET
RAI defends again but OCO uses a bit of the grass to get inside and take P14
ALB follows and takes P15 from RAI

22: VER pits from P2; mediums go on; rejoins P3, just ahead of STR – that was a quick stop
GAS, NOR and KVY all pit

23: Both Mercedes stay out
SAI pits from P6; softs go on; rejoins P12
So now we’ve had hard, medium and softs as the second tyre

24: HAM pits; mediums go on but a bit slow; rejoins still P1
BOT into the pits too; mediums as well; rejoins P3, behind VER

25/66: HAM, VER, BOT, STR, PER, LEC, VET, RIC, MAG, OCO
Radio for VER telling him about HAM and BOT; VER snaps back “How about we focus on our race?”; told to “get his head down” – that’s the verbal equivalent of being sent to the naughty step!

27: BOT complaining “these black overalls are ** hot!”

28: STR pits from P4; mediums go on; rejoins
MAG struggling – loses P9 to OCO, then ALB and SAI

29: MAG pits

30/66: PER pits, followed by VET
PER rejoins the track just as SAI passes OCO – that could have been nasty

31: HAM, VER, BOT, RIC, STR, SAI, PER, OCO, ALB, GAS, NOR, LEC, KVY, VET, GRO, RUS, RAI, GIO, MAG, LAT

32: STR inside teammate PER for P5
Radio for BOT telling him he’s “got the pace, there’s plenty of opportunities”

33 = half distance: Some dark clouds in the distance
ALB around the outside of OCO for P8

34: LEC trying to get inside NOR
Radio from VER pointing out it’s getting dark (cloudy) on some parts of the track

35/66: HAM, VER, BOT, RIC, STR, PER, SAI, ALB, OCO, GAS, NOR, LEC, KVY, VET, RUS, RAI, GIO, MAG, GRO, LAT
There’s a good midfield battle from ALB (P8) down to KVY (P12)
STR takes P3 from RIC
LEC attacks NOR but the Ferrari driver runs wide

36: Radio for VET telling him they expect rain from lap 50
RIC pits; mediums replaced by softs; rejoins P12

37: RAI now holds the record for the greatest distance raced in F1 – 83,846km which is more than twice the circumference of Earth
LEC spins!
Replay shows the engine just died mid-corner and spun him around

38: LEC gets the Ferrari moving again, so there’s no Safety Car

39: Radio for HAM says it may be thunderstorms
BOT has been told to stop managing his tyres and pick up his pace

40/66: HAM, VER, BOT, STR, PER, SAI, ALB, GAS, NOR, KVY, VET, RIC, RAI, GIO, MAG, OCO, RUS, GRO, LAT, LEC
LEC pits; mechanics tighten his safety straps … but then they wheel him into the garage
ALB pits; mediums go on

42: VER pits from P2; new mediums go on; another quick stop; rejoins P3

43: SAI pits; rejoins just ahead of ALB
BOT f/lap 1:21.857
ALB attacks SAI but the McLaren hangs on to P10
STR pits, as does GAS

44: Dark clouds are gathering over the circuit
Are Mercedes trying to delay their second stop until the rain?

45/66: HAM, BOT, VER, PER, NOR, KVY, VET, STR, SAI, ALB, GAS, RIC, RAI, MAG, GIO, OCO, RUS, GRO, LAT; out: LEC
NOR pits; rejoins P11 behind GAS

46: HAM f/lap 1:21.539 – he’s lapped everyone from KVY (P5)
Radio from VER, “Feels like I’ve lost power”

47: KVY pits

48: Radio from VET, “Let me know what you want to do” – I remember when VET used to make his own decisions
HAM has 16sec lead over BOT, who in turn is ~15sec clear of VER

49: HAM laps PER (P4)
BOT pits; softs go on; rejoins P3 … but the rain looks imminent – do Mercedes think it’ll miss the track?
Radio from HAM, “Don’t put me on the softs”

50/66: HAM, VER, BOT, PER, VET, STR, SAI, ALB, GAS, NOR, RIC, KVY, MAG, OCO, RUS, GRO, RAI, GIO, LAT; out: LEC

51: HAM pits; mediums, as he wanted
Race control: STR under investigation for ignoring blue flags (presumably as HAM was lapping him)

52: Radio for VET asking him what he thinks about going to the end on these tyres; VET, “I asked you this before”

54: After his pit stop, HAM re-laps STR which means VET is next for HAM 🙂
VET gets blue flags; lets HAM past
PER given 5sec penalty for ignoring blue flags

55/66: HAM, VER (+13sec), BOT (+20s), PER (+77s), VET (+1 lap), STR, SAI, ALB, GAS, NOR

56: KVY also given 5sec penalty for ignoring blue flags
STR closes on VET and easily takes P4

57: Radio from RIC, “Rear starting to take a hit”

58: Dangerously late move by GRO as RAI passes him – that ought to be a penalty
Tweet from Ferrari says LEC’s problem: “power unit switched off suddenly after passing on a kerb”
BBC report “His team said that he intially couldn’t get the engine restarted, took his belts off and then found that he could get it going again.”
Seriously? He took his belts off and then drove another couple of laps??

60/66: HAM, VER, BOT, PER*, STR, VET, SAI, ALB, GAS, NOR, RIC, KVY*, OCO, MAG, RAI, RUS, GRO, GIO, LAT; out: LEC
*PER and KVY have 5sec penalties to be applied
SAI takes P6 from VET

61: GRO uses the escape route; hits a kerb and some bodywork goes flying

62: HAM hits the carbon fibre from GRO’s bodywork but seems to continue ok

64: HAM f/lap 1:19.822
BOT f/lap 1:19.750 – if he has that pace, why wasn’t he catching VER?
Racce control: GRO and GIO under investigation for Turn 2 incident

65/66: BOT pits from P3; new mediums go on
GRO caught a spin but that will have killed his tyres

66 = final lap: HAM, VER, BOT, PER*, STR, VET, ALB, GAS, NOR

HAM takes the chequered flag – that’s 156 podiums, moving clear of Michael Schumacher (although HAM needs 3 more wins to equal Schumacher’s record of 91)
VER P2, 24sec behind the Mercedes
BOT P3 and fastest lap 1:18.183

Radio from HAM, “I didn’t even know that was the last lap”

Provisional result: HAM, VER, BOT, [PER*] STR, PER, VET, ALB, GAS, NOR; RIC, KVY*, OCO, RAI, MAG, GIO, RUS, LAT, GRO
DNF: LEC
*PER’s 5sec penalty drops him from P4 to P5
*KVY’s 5sec penalty puts him P12

Interviews:
HAM: “I was just in a daze out there – it felt really good”; “I didn’t even know it was the last lap in the end that’s how in the zone I was!”
VER: “It was good to split the two Mercedes”; “We didn’t have the pace today, so I’m happy with P2”
BOT: “The start was the key point – the start was not good enough and I lost some positions”; “It just didn’t work for me; I’m pretty disappointed”

Not sure how VET won the fan’s vote for Driver of the Day
I won’t bother with VET’s interview – he was just whining about the team again

STR: “I had a great launch off the line”; “That really set me up for a great race”; “Spa [the next race] should be a good track for our car – F1 cars really come alive at Spa. You get that real feel of what it’s like to push the car to its limit”
ALB: “To be honest, I don’t know what it is – it was a little bit like qualifying – just really struggling to keep the tyres alive”
Ugh, Rosberg trying to sound like he would have done so much better – yeah, that’s why you didn’t defend the championship.
Toto: “At the moment I have to say [HAM] drives in a league is his own”

There’s a short gap before the next race: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps) is the weekend after next (Aug 28-30).
The FIA are planning to restrict engine modes (i.e. Mercedes’ “party mode”) starting at the next race, which may impact Quali.

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]